Cyber Security - Work in Progress and Outcomes

The Virginia Cyber Security Commission-

The Virginia Cyber Security Commission was established by Executive Order (EO8) in February 2014 to bring public and private sector experts together to make recommendations on how to make Virginia a leader in cyber security.  Dr. Barry Horowitz, Munster Professor of Systems and Information Engineering and Chair of the Systems and Information Engineering Department at the University of Virginia is a member of the group, chairing the Economic Development Work Group and a supporting the Education Work Group.    

Chairing the Economic Development Work Group

The Economic Development Work Group including the Virginia Secretaries of Commerce and Veterans and Defense Affairs, has developed a strategy built upon the growing investments in advanced automation, autonomous systems, and the Internet of Things. These opportunities call for new innovations regarding cybersecurity, thereby creating a new need that Virginia companies can respond to. Areas of Unmanned Vehicles and Advanced Manufacturing have been selected for initial attention.

Led by UVa, a public private work group was formed regarding development of new technology for providing cyber security for police automobiles and for supporting police in their role regarding diagnosis of incidents that might be caused by a cyberattack.  This is leading to follow-on efforts to develop solution paths that respond to automobile consumers, the automobile industry, and a broad segment of the law enforcement community at a variety of levels, including state and federal.

In December 2015 the State Police Superintendent formally recognized and extended his appreciation on behalf of the Virginia State Police to Barry Horowitz and the university for its “support and collaborative research relating to potential cyber security threats in regards to first responder vehicles”.   View this recognition in its entirety.

In March 2016 the Governor thanked Barry Horowitz for "all you have done to strengthen Virginia's leadership position with cyber security" and for his "service and dedication to the Commonwealth.
View this recognition in its entirety.

Supporting the Education Work Group

The Education Work Group of the Commission is recommending initiatives to develop cyber security education at community colleges and at four year undergraduate programs.  To support this initiative, UVa, with involvement of the Virginia Department of Education, is currently exploring the expansion of its current SEAS multi-department Undergraduate Technology Leaders Program to include a new element focused on securing computer controlled physical systems (e.g., UAV’s,  automobiles) and developing the expanded program as a model for other educational institutions to share. This includes exploration of what can be shared with respect to simulation-based tools for Virginia’s educational institutions to employ to enable students to learn how to design defenses against possible cyber attacks.

Technical Support to the Joint Commission on Technology and Science-

The Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), a permanent legislative agency, has been considering new legislation that would permit Internet-based voting for members of the military who are located in active military engagement areas that negate the possible use of absentee ballots. Issues related to cyber security are being addressed in a risk-based context that is intended to result in a viable secure solution that would enable our servicemen to vote. Dr. Horowitz is participating on a panel of voting methodology and cyber security experts who are working together to bring possible solutions for consideration by JCOTS.

The Cybersecurity Advisory Committee of JCOTS is considering the creation of a Higher Education Research Network (portal) for Cybersecurity. David Hudson, Associate Vice President for Research in the Office of the Vice President for Research is participating in the work of this committee.  The committee envisions a consortium approach to the portal, making it a one-stop shop that highlights university cybersecurity research to the private sector, houses internship and job opportunities, serves as a forum for discussion and collaboration, encourages cybersecurity education at the K12 level, and assists in the marketing of cybersecurity in Virginia. Such a portal will likely be maintained by VEDP and/or SCHEV. The committee is still examining how they might provide incentives for universities to keep their portal information updated and they’ve discussed memberships with dues as one way of doing this. The portal would be an ideal tool in determining university access points for businesses looking to expand in Virginia and is a purposeful effort to encourage collaborative research and economic growth.